Is college worth it?

Lorenze

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
826
Reaction score
547
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Hey guys.

I'm a junior in high school, which basically means my teachers and parents keep going on and on about college. It's getting pretty exhausting. I just wanna ask you guys - is it worth it? Why or why not? What are some alternatives?

Some extra stuff about my situation if you're curious:

  • I plan on majoring in either Film, Game Design, or both
  • I plan on going out of state to San Fransisco. There IS an in-state school that seems cool, but I'd prefer to go out of state, in a fairly large suburban/city area.
  • By the time I actually start applying next fall, I should have at least seven portfolio items (2 games, 2 feature-length films,
    2 ten-minute plays, 1 short film, 1 animation, and maybe a few of my better art pieces) and a pretty decent resume.
  • Should college not work out or something, I do have a couple of contacts I could refer to, at the moment.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Deleted

The Champion of Uncertainty :D
Veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
1,254
Reaction score
276
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Depends on what you want out of life. For some yes, for others no.
 

Lemur

Crazed Ruby Hacker
Veteran
Joined
Dec 1, 2014
Messages
106
Reaction score
124
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I would go, if only for the connections you get. The worst thing you can do though is go to college in an area where you can't get connections. Realize though that SF will drive you broke fast if you're not careful, $2000 for a studio apartment is not unusual in the city here.

The other thing to realize is you'll probably be paying over half your salary to rent unless you're making close to 6-figures out here. It's insane some times.
 

whitesphere

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2014
Messages
1,688
Reaction score
784
First Language
English
The primary value of a college education, for most professions, is that, as a whole, society has decided it is required.  It's considered "the new high school diploma" from what I've heard.

Even completely unrelated jobs will sometimes require a college degree.  So, if you lack a college degree, you may find yourself limited in the future, even if your ability is not related to the degree.    For example, if you ever decided, for some strange reason, to join the police force (since it's SUCH a change from film making), you might find you can't get promoted past a certain rank without a college degree.

For specialized professions --- engineering, medicine, architecture, some types of science, law --- college is absolutely essential because the amount and depth of material you MUST know is taught there.  And you will NOT get a job in those fields without the appropriate college degree.

Personally, I would pursue a college degree that gives you the most stable career choices.  It's crucial that it's something you like doing, even if it's not your passion. 

My sister, for example, has a passion for theater, but she decided to major in finance (which she also likes but doesn't have a passion for), because she wanted to work to live, not live to work (the actors she talked to get paid around $24,000 a year).  Now, she is fairly high up in a finance division, doing creative (financial) work she likes, and gets paid very well so she can live her life the way she wants to.    And the other things she does make her life far more enjoyable, even if she's not working as an actor in the theater.

Had she majored in theater, she would be living the life of the starving artist, working long hours for low pay.  So she'd be "Living Her Dream" but that would basically be having a small apartment, going to rehearsals, coming home, going to bed, and hoping she'll be "Discovered" some day.

It comes down to this:  Do you want your work to be your entire life?  Or is work merely the means by which you pay the bills so you can LIVE your life?
 

mlogan

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
15,549
Reaction score
8,624
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I agree wholeheartedly with whitesphere. There is so much more to a college education than simply what you learn in class.

I have seen personally the effects of simply having a degree. I've had jobs unrelated to my field where I've started with a higher wage than others, simply because of that piece of paper. Conversely, I've seen people lose out on oppurtunities to further their careers because of the lack of degree.

You can continue your work on your own while you are in college, seeking out opportunities, building that portfolio and making connections in your desired field.

Is it an absolute necessity? No. But it can make things easier down the road. I would strongly recommend it now, while you have the chance. It will be much harder to go back later once you are on your own and having to work to support yourself, if you were to decide later you did want that education.
 

Galenmereth

Retired
Veteran
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
2,248
Reaction score
2,158
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
I'll echo what has been said already by mlogan and whitesphere, and will also add that no matter what you choose, your personal time investment into what you like to do is tantamount to any and all success. Is a college education necessary to make it? No, but it can be good exposure to so much more than you already know and understand, which in turn can always be drawn upon as inspiration -- both personal and professional.
 

EternalShadow

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
5,781
Reaction score
1,042
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I'll be the one to say it: likely not! (But read on)

Real-life experience has been proven to be far more valuable than a degree - or whatever a college gives you - HOWEVER, a college is likely going to give you a far better start than a degree is.

Seven portfolio items and contacts however, will help bucketloads. More than the actual degree itself.

I'm going to give a proper reply when I'm back this evening as I rushed this one and I have to go out soon.
 

Clord

Nya~
Veteran
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
2,358
Reaction score
385
Primarily Uses
You can be self-learned expert on the field but without a "cheap" paper telling them that, they will likely just ignore you instead of spend a time needed for you to prove yourself.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

GrandmaDeb

Modern Exteriors Posted!
Veteran
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
4,467
Reaction score
2,946
Primarily Uses
My brother does digital 3-D animation for movies (you would recognize titles, and his name is in credits. His team was congratulated by Harrison Ford (Woo Hoo!) after being honored for their work.)


He has a degree. Lives on the West Coast. His work is highly competitive, demanding and he is not rich. Not even a little bit rich. Not even a smidge. He is good at what he does, but wouldn't be doing it without the degree.


The video game making shops around here (East coast) are very demanding. You had better know your stuff inside and out to be an asset. Creativity and breadth of knowledge must be under-girded by a broad base of technical understanding.


Read this article (a few years old now, but worth a gander, originally posted by BigEd.)


http://www.develop-online.net/news/opinion-so-you-want-to-be-a-graphics-programmer/0109268


Pursue Your Dream. But Prepare for it! Get internships, Take Calculus. Learn to be organized.


Truthfully, not everyone needs college. My husband is extremely successful and college was not in his background. But for your interests, you need it. And if you don't get work in your area of interest right away, at least you will have the skills to earn so you can buy the stuff to keep making great games and art!!!


My take.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mlogan

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
15,549
Reaction score
8,624
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
You can be self-learned expert on the field but without a "cheap" paper telling them that, they will likely just ignore you instead of spend a time needed for you to prove yourself.
:guffaw:

Sorry but there is NOTHING cheap about that piece of paper.

Another benefit to a college degree is that it shows prospective employers that you can work hard and accomplish an end goal.
 

EternalShadow

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
5,781
Reaction score
1,042
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
:guffaw:


Sorry but there is NOTHING cheap about that piece of paper.


Another benefit to a college degree is that it shows prospective employers that you can work hard and accomplish an end goal.
I think they meant cheap as in non-monetary value wise. It is very expensive for what it gives you.


Alright, so I'm back - and here is my longer answer.


Game Design is a massively competitive field. Even with a degree, employers rarely look at you unless you have a lot of experience and a very good portfolio. Yes, it is good for showing that you can reach the end of a course or end goal - but there are a LOT of issues with this.


I've interrupted my Uni course because all it was teaching me was how to write essays. That's basically literally it. I was learning nothing of value, and I'm going to be changing to a much more practical course when I start again in October. I'm hoping the practical course will actually give me things for my portfolio, and I'm planning to get my unused dissertation published. Honestly, it's a far better outcome than if I'd stayed. People treat it piteously as if someone's died "Oh I'm so sorry you have to interrupt" but honestly, I don't feel sad about it at all. There were some other issues as well, but I won't go into those as they aren't relevant here.


So in the end, rather than simply having a degree, I'll likely actually have a published paper, five or six finished games under my belt (Zendir 1, 2, 3, Beyond Reality IGMC, Beyond Reality HD, unannounced game), volunteering experience in a multitude of places as well as possibly an actual job (The other course is a work-from-home one so I will have a lot of free time).


Yes, it extends my academia for one more year, but the benefits FAR outweigh the disadvantages. FAR FAR outweigh. I spoke to lots of people about it, and they feel the same way. The value of spending £50,000/$80,000 (including accommodation fees) for a piece of paper that shows you spent three more years in academia is very poor. Compare that with the amount of money you could've invested into starting your own business, joining a proper games design course that teaches you C++/Unity, getting work experience (make sure any internships you do are paid, btw - unpaid ones are a major issue in the UK atm) or even part-timing a job and a design course...


There are far better options out there, honestly. You just have to look beyond the norm of being shoehorned into college or uni just because you want to do something or you are good at it and it is the most obvious option - there is so much more out there!!


P.S: Film/Game design are very niche courses, especially film. There are very very few jobs in that area. Game design is just horribly competitive, but 'easier' to find something for. If you had to choose, I'd go for game - but in work experience, rather than a college/uni course - otherwise, find the most practical and involved course you can that teaches the most relevant things. No essays!!


Message me if you want any advice or whatever~
 

captainproton

Dangerously Nifty
Veteran
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,276
Reaction score
570
First Language
english
Primarily Uses
I would recommend it, for a lot of the reasons already mentioned: it shows you have dedication and are willing to put in the time and effort, it gets you lots of contacts (disgustingly important), and it gives you the opportunity to learn a subject in an environment where everyone is focused on that subject. You have to teach yourself and start from square zero. You have a teacher right there who can answer questions and show you how to do things.

I would recommend taking classes in other graphic arts fields, besides games and film, though. Take an animation class, or learn print ad design. It's amazing how all of these different disciplines can help you gain new perspectives on your favored subject.

And discount those essay classes right away! If you want to succeed in any field, you'll need those communication skills, especially when dealing with the business side of the industry.
 

Milkdud

Procrastinator Extraordinaire
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
171
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I got an associates degree in Creative Graphic Design and that essentially helped me land the job I have now, which has me doing something entirely different than what I went to college for. But I probably wouldn't be where I am now without the degree.

Your mileage may very though.
 

Harmill

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 3, 2012
Messages
295
Reaction score
131
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
As a foreword, this is mostly relevant regarding your statement of wanting to major in Game Design:

It's only worth it if you are prepared to give it your all. I took a 2 year Game Design program and it was NOT a walk in the park. It was expensive, the graduation rate was very low, and the employment rate of its graduates was not even very high. You are NOT guaranteed a job after graduation, and honestly, the hardest worker during my two year program is still without a job in the Games Industry. As previously stated, it is a highly competitive field, and you need to be motivated / devoted / prepared to work as hard as you have to in order to stand out among your fellow class mates and ultimately your competition.

After graduating I was stuck with a 10 year student loan. I was one of the fortunate ones to get a job in the industry only a couple of months after graduation, but those that never did get a job? Ouch...

So if you are determined to go to a school for Game Design, here's how it DID help:

1. Introduced many development programs and scripting languages (examples include Game Maker, Unreal Editor, Unity, and scripting in GML, Lua, Python, Actionscript 3)

2. Introduced the process of developing games. I learned that my biggest issue was that my scope was ALWAYS too big and it really hurt my projects during school. Keep your scope low so that you actually have time to POLISH your project.

3. In my particular school, the game designers, artists, animators, and programmers all teamed up and worked together on a game. This was the closest experience I got working in a "professional" environment before getting hired. Maybe most Game Design schools also offer this, but I would really make sure that your program of choice offers this opportunity as it is invaluable.

4. The instructors were all industry insiders that taught on the side. In other words, just by attending classes and performing well on projects, you are already networking.

5. Speaking of networking, you are also networking with your class mates. They may get hired at a game developer upon graduation and knowing them and having a good relationship with them could work in your favour.

6. And further on networking, my school had quarterly game events that always had a panel of Game Industry guests. Local game developers were invited to the panel, and afterwards, you had the opportunity to talk with them, make a good impression, add them on LinkedIn, etc. How you make use of these moments could drastically affect how easy it will be for you to find a job.

7. Upon graduation, the school had someone work with each graduate to help them get a job. In fact, it is that helper that got me my contact with my current job, so without her, I have no idea if I'd be in the industry right now.

Now, one word of advice for you for when you graduate: Do not be afraid of relocating if it means getting your foot in the door. If you restrict yourself to only local developers (depending where you live there may not even be local developers), you may find yourself unable to get your first job. That first job is the hardest one to get. That class mate I mentioned, the one that was the hardest worker and yet still hasn't made it in the industry? I think a HUGE factor is that he's unwilling to relocate. Me? I moved across the country for my job and I've been working the same job for almost 3 years now.

So is college worth it? I will repeat: it depends on how much effort and time you are willing to put in. There were A LOT of people joining Game Design programs thinking it would be all fun and games and it's anything but that. Do research on potential schools. Figure out where you might be able to move to for work upon graduation. Have a game plan (no pun intended?).
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

The second draft of my script is almost done, and I don't think I'm going to write a third draft. I'll make changes to dialogue here and there, but I'm happy with the series of events the way they are.
How you feel about font and dialogue box changing for every main character while the minor cast and regular npc get their own styles? Too much?
Just found an obviously custom effect (i.e. edited by me) in my resources>sounds folder called "rip jaw off". Dear Lord what is wrong with me as a person that at some point I needed a sound *specifically* for THAT??
(...rhetorical question.)
so like with the whole 'familiarity breeds contempt thingy', how are you supposed to tell if your title screen/battle music gets really tedious after a few dozen plays or if you're just personally hella sick of it?

Forum statistics

Threads
107,520
Messages
1,030,238
Members
139,647
Latest member
JesuProYT
Top